When Johns Bold Battle was discovered at a New Jersey feed lot weighing 300 pounds less than he ought to, his ribs and hips jutting out from a dull coat, few would have guessed he was likely descended from America’s 10th Triple Crown winner.
It wasn’t until horse-rescue operator and dressage rider Lisa Post pulled him off the lot that she began to uncover his lineage. Meticulously researching his tattoo, and other characteristics and traits of the underweight horse, she declared the orphaned equine to be Johns Bold Battle, grandson of Seattle Slew.
“There’s a lot of horse stories out there, so I wanted to be sure,” she says, noting that she is confident the bay gelding is an off-track Thoroughbred who raced 65 times, primarily in Texas.
Sad as it is to imagine a descendent of Seattle Slew could end up waiting to be shipped to a slaughterhouse, Post says Johns Bold Battle’s story is actually one of the happy ones.
Racing name: Johns Bold Battle
Sire: Seattle Battle
Dam: Really Rose
Foaled: Feb. 6, 1991
“He’s doing great now. This is really a success story,” says Post, cofounder of Helping Hearts Equine Rescue of New Jersey. (http://hher.webs.com)
Johns Bold Battle, now known simply as Fred, and pasture friend Barney, are now fatter and much happier as they enjoy retirement with adoptive owner Rebecca Montaldo of North Carolina.
The park ranger says she’s been rescuing animals most of her life. Dogs, cats, and an old Hanoverian found new homes with her at one point. Then she was approached by a New York horse trainer with the ultimate question: could she take two more. Kara Vlk, on the forefront of horse-rescue efforts via social media, urged her to take in Fred and Barney, two OTTBs discovered in a New Jersey feed lot. Before she agreed, Montaldo helped with other horse-rescue efforts, but promised herself that she would do no more horse adoptions.
“That was it. I wasn’t getting anymore,” Montaldo says. “Then Kara happened. She started calling me about these two horses, and how they needed to come to my North Carolina barn.”
After insisting she wouldn’t, she relented enough to bring the matter up with her husband. “We had a two-minute conversation. I said, ‘There are these two horses that need rescuing.’ He said, ‘Go.’ And that was it. I called and got Barney, and then we called Lisa Post and told her we’d like to have Fred. We wanted them to stay together because the two had been barn mates.”
It is such a joy to watch Fred slowly regain weight, and enjoy his retirement with his pal Barney, Montaldo says.
“They have a good life now.”